Students who want to become health aides may pursue a training program; in certain states, these programs must be government-approved. Additionally, current health aides may choose to enhance their careers with specialized training. Certification requirements vary by state and are often voluntary. A professional certification may provide an opportunity for health aides to demonstrate competency.
Training lasts for at least 75 hours, including 16 hours of practical supervision. Before being admitted into a program students must complete a clean background check, a physical exam, a tuberculosis test and provide records of immunizations.
Health Aide Certification
A career as a health aide emphasizes real-world training more than formal classroom sessions; most students learn by working alongside a supervisor. However, those who aspire to work for an agency that receives reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid must participate in training requirements that are mandated by the federal government.
Students have the ability to test out of the training by achieving satisfactory exam scores. Training topics may include:
- Patient transfer techniques
- Basic lifesaving skills
- First aid
- Patient dietary needs
- Sanitary and hygiene concerns
- Patient safety
Salary and Employment Outlook
Data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) in May 2015 indicated that the median annual salary earned by home health aides was $21,920; individuals working as personal care aides earned a median salary of $20,980 the same year. The BLS predicted that the field for home health aides would grow by 38% between 2014 and 2024, while personal care aides is expected to grow 26% during that same period, making them some of the fastest growing industries in the nation for the decade.
Health aides can choose to receive further training by becoming a certified nurse's aide, specializing in a certain aspect of aide work such as administering medication, or earning an associate's degree. Many associate's degree programs are offered by community colleges and offer flexible scheduling options that allow a student to continue to work while completing their education.
Those with an interest in helping people with health issues who live in their own homes may need to pursue a Health Aide Certification, depending on the laws of the state they work in. Training for these programs is often more hands-on than in-class and teaches students how to help ailing individuals with the daily activities of living.